The worst job in the world?

Disease of looking-glass makersOccupational diseases are those associated with a particular profession.  The first to be identified was a type of scrotal tumour which disproportionately affected chimney-sweeps: the connection was made in 1775 by Percivall Pott.

There are many well-known examples: miners developing the lung disease silicosis; phossy jaw, a disease suffered by match-makers, the result of exposure to phosphorus; and … Read more

The do-it-yourself hernia operation

Case of strangulated herniaIn the nineteenth century medical attention was a luxury which had to be paid for, and which not all could afford.  What, then, would you do if you were living in abject poverty and developed a serious illness?  Many people put their faith in traditional remedies or prayer; a few took matters into their own hands.

Here’s a tale from … Read more